Friday, June 5, 2015

Progress on the tiling piece

It's been a while since I updated on the piece I'm currently working on.  In contrast to the QN piece which feels very last year (in my weird brain), this piece feels very immediate (and currently irritating since I'm struggling with monofilament quilting).  In case you don't remember I started with these tiles I designed while in a workshop with Jenny Bowker.

I decided to incorporate them into a piece to fit into my ongoing liturgical series.  In addition, the timing was right to try to finish it in time for the current open call for entry for a quilt with a quote or saying on it.  The show is one of the  IQF ones this year (I think it's actually called "Just Sayin").  I decided to feature the text from the peace; the time in a traditional Catholic or Episcopalian service (maybe others too?) when congregants greet one another.  The actual words in our prayer book are "The peace of the Lord be always with you" and people respond "and also with you".  That was too many words to fit in my shape though, so I went with the more common greeting between people- "Peace be with you.  And also with you".  Inspired by a gorgeous piece of Islamic art/tile work/illumination, I decided to fit my words into a round piece to go in front of the tiles.

Here is my paper pattern as I was drawing all my letters into the round shape.  It was tricky to get them to angle properly and fit right.  I'm not 100% pleased and a typographer or calligrapher probably would have done much better, but it was the best I could do!

And of course I then cut the letters out of four different colors of gold fabric (because you always need more sparkle).

Here they are all fused down.  In case it's completely illegible, it reads "Peace be with you" around the outside and "and also with you" around the inside.

Then for the tile borders I decided to make myself crazy and foundation pieced this chevron pattern.  All these fabrics are different golds (about 10 I think) all different weights and textures, all ravelly and all a giant mess, but I love the way it turned out.

Here it is so you can see more or less the main composition.  There is now a big (6-8") solid maroon border that goes around the whole thing.

I decided to bind the edges of the gold pieced border and the round part since there were a bunch of raw edges.  The gold border especially was way to thick to turn, but I really wanted it to be on top.  I also couched sparkly razzle dazzle thread aroudn all the letters and I hope that makes them a bit easier to read.

Linking up with Nina-Marie as always!  Mike and I are leaving for Alaska on Saturday, keep your fingers crossed we don't get caught in a tide or eaten by a bear.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pink Polka Dot Dress and Opening Reception

I was so lucky that my mom came with me to QN15- we have such a great time together and wound up making a mini-trip of it.  Before we went, I sewed up a new dress to wear to the opening reception, and of course it's pink.  I fell in love with this pink polka dot fabric a while back and made this dress based on a shirt pattern I'd made and liked previously.

The best thing about the opening was getting to meet so many fabulous artists.  64 of the accepted ~85 artists were at the opening and we had lots of opportunity to talk with each other.  Kathleen Dawson, the QN director, put pictures of all our quilts on our name tags.  It was one of those great ideas that really made a difference when we were all milling around, since it made it easy to put an artist face with a particular quilt and gave us someplace to start a conversation.  I'm so nervous meeting new people, especially people whose work I've admired from afar for a long time, but everyone was super friendly and open.  I spent a fair amount of time scurrying around getting the other artists to sign my show catalog- almost like yearbooks in high school.   It was especially neat to hear each artist talk about his/her piece, both from a technical and artistic standpoint.  Diedre Adams, who had a beautiful piece in the show, kindly took pictures of most of the artists and their pieces which she shared on her blog.  Definitely worth checking out if you'd like to see more of the work.  My friend Barb drove up from St. Louis to see the show as well, and it was great fun to see her.

I'm generally not one for selfies, but I love taking selfies with my mom.

You can see in the next one what a lovely job the Dairy Barn did hanging my piece so you can see the shadows behind it.

On the last day we went to Hocking Hills State Park and took a nice hike.  Even though we weren't on the most popular paths, since it was Memorial Day weekend there were hordes of people everywhere.  It reminded me of the country around Sewanee where I went to school, and was really a lovely state park.  The weather was gorgeous and made a nice break from home where we have had non-stop flooding rains and other severe weather.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Peering Out of the Darkness: Quilt National 2015

My mom and I just got back from the opening of Quilt National 15 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens OH, and it was a really wonderful trip for so many reasons.  Later in the week I'll share some more pictures of the opening and our trip, but today I want to focus on the piece I have in the show.  I'm so excited to have been a part of such a wonderful exhibit and so happy to finally be able to share my piece here.  The entries were due last September, so I was actually working on this last summer. In my brain it feels like old work, and I've been really anxious to share it.  One of the best parts of the opening was that each artist was given two minutes to speak about his or her piece, and I think the recordings/videos from that are going to be on youtube.  If they get posted I'll share the links.

This piece had been brewing in my head for a long time, and I was pleased to finally be able to make it.  I talked about the process a fair amount here, and I mostly just want to share the final pictures now.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015 50" H x 42" W
Artist Statement: This wintry night scene is designed to capture the relationship between us, standing alone in the darkness, and the piercing lightness of the world outside.

I wanted to explore the ideas of ambiguousness and of taking away, of suggesting. The feelings of the woman staring out the window are up to you- is she hopeful? Sad? Desperate? Inspired? I wanted her expression to be sufficiently unclear that the interpretation reflected the feelings and situation of the viewer rather than the artist.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

The piece started from completely white fabric which was painted (with all different colors of mostly latex housepaint, but also screen printing paint and shiva paintsticks), cut, and quilted.  For me, the dual shadows--those projected within the piece, ( the bottom section) and those projected behind the piece (i.e. when it is hung away from the wall) are a critical part of the composition.  I was really pleased with the way it was hung in the Dairy Barn and will show some more pictures of it hanging later in the week.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

There are many thread colors throughout the piece, including incorporation of metallic threads, so that from afar it looks very grey and muted but up close there is lots of variation.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

I'm linking up to Nina-Marie's as always!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Art Quilt Entry

It's time once again for the fabulous Blogger's Quilt Festival.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you should- it's always a great opportunity to find lots and lots of fabulous new quilts and bloggers.

If this is your first time visiting here, thanks for clicking through and I hope you'll come back in the future!

This is my entry in the Art Quilt category, a piece called Gloria Patri which I finished earlier this year.  You can see more about it by clicking the Gloria Patri tag in the sidebar.

It's part of a series I'm working on depicting pieces of the Anglican Liturgy, and inspired by the style and motifs found in illuminated manuscripts.  The wording is printed with my handmade silk screens, and features the text of the Gloria Patri (Gloria Patri, et Fili, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saeculum saeculorum amen.) spiraling out both directions from the center.  The central Gloria is an ambigram, that is it reads "gloria" both right side up and upside down.

 I then quilted the piece around all the letters and then with the floral/branchy/leafy fillers.  The quilting colors ranged from various shades of red/blue through to green/purple.  Unfortunately, once I was finished with the quilting, the whole thing felt washed out, so I went back and painted in all the quilting motifs.

The label reads "There is no top and no bottom, there is only the center.  How to regain the center when equilibrium is lost?  Slow, repetitive, meditative stitching; slow repetitive, meditative prayer."  The piece feels to me like a meditation labyrinth, where pacing along a defined path give your brain and heart a chance to rest and refocus.

Many thanks to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and to all those who clicked through to see my quilt!

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Mini-Quilt Entry

Welcome to all those who clicked over from the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  As usual, Amy has done a great job organizing so if you haven't checked it out yet, please do.  

For those who are new here, I'm Shannon (from Moore OK) and I mostly make art quilts, but also love to make bags and attempt to make clothes.  I hope you'll consider stopping by again sometime.  

This is my entry for the mini-quilt category, and I made it as a donation for the annual SAQA auction.  For more information about this quilt, you can check out my previous post about it.

After working out my design (in this case using Adobe Illustrator)  I painted white polyester fabric with latex house paint in blue-grey-purple and then quilted.  The silhouette of the person is cut out of adhesive foil which I used as a stencil for shading in the silhouette with Shiva paintsticks. 

Finally I added more paint to the window frames and then cut out the windows. My goal was for the pieces to evoke thoughtfulness and reflection.  Maybe hopefulness or calm, or even anxiety or sadness.

This one was actually one of three I made at the same time, here you can see them all together; each just a bit different.

Thanks again to Amy for hosting this year's Blogger's Quilt Festival and to all those who clicked through to see my work.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Giveaway Winner picked number 10, so Janice Paine-Dawes won the 1000 Quilt Inspirations Book Giveaway.  Thanks to everyone who commented!

Small Whole Cloth Quilt

If you're looking for the book giveaway,  click here.  There's still time to enter.  I'll draw a winner this afternoon around 5.

This quilt has been half quilted and pinned to my design wall for longer than I can remember.  The photo metadata says that I started this in May of 2012, and to be honest, I don't even know if I blogged about it.  Maybe?  It was mostly just a chance to practice my FMQ, but somehow I started it, got as far as the second picture in April 2013, and never got back to it.  Last week I decided to go ahead and finish it (it's about 24" square).  I spent a few hours quilting, then squared it up and bound it. I usually use the water-erasable blue markers to mark my quilts (they come out of everything I've ever tried them on), but I used crayola washable markers for this one because the blue was hard to see.  I know they wash out, but I was really scared, because the marker had been on there for sooo long.  Anyway, I soaked the quilt overnight with spray-n-wash and a bit of woolite, and then ran it through the rinse in the washer.  The marker did come out (yay), so I'll consider myself lucky on this one.  You can see all the red marker in the center.

Sorry for the bad colors in this next one, but I wanted to show how I block my quilts.  Most things I make are small enough to fit on my design wall, but I have never in the history of my sewing, managed to make something square.  As a result I always have to block my quilts when they're wet, squaring up to some element in the design that's supposed to be horizontal or vertical.  On this one that has the inner border, I blocked the inner border and the edge (you can see the billions of pins), stretching or mushing in till it lines up with my laser level (red lines).  Sometimes I block before squaring up and sometimes after (sometimes both if my quilt is really misbehaving), it just depends on the project.  (This quilt really is square, the picture is just crooked).

Here's a close-up of the quilting.  It's mostly 100wt silk thread in the center, metallic and polyester 40wt on the borders.  Definitely not perfect, but fun and finished!

Twirling through the Leaves, Shannon Conley, 24 x 24, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Midwest Metaphors-SAQA Regional Showcase

Our regional SAQA group has put together a showcase called Midwest Metaphors which opens this weekend at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, MO.  My dragon quilt is in it (and made the flyer).  The show runs through June 27th, so if you're in the area, stop by and check it out.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Tiling and a Book Giveaway

For details on the book giveaway,  just scroll to the bottom!

I've been talking about designing tiling designs in the workshop my mom and I took with Jenny Bowker.  Since then I've been working on actually turning one of my designs into a quilt.

These are the tile designs I started with.  I drew them to be as similar as possible except one has the dragon head and one has his tail.

Here's the computer mockup of what they look like tiled.  Again, sorry for the awful colors, it's just an attempt to get an idea.

I decided I'd make mine fusible applique and zig-zag around the edges with invisible thread.  Jenny encouraged me to make the blocks quite large (~16") since they're pretty detailed and would have more visual impact if they were larger, but I really really wanted to use up the little bitty pieces of fabric I had left from cutting out the animals in these two quilts.  It was really a lot of fabric, all with fusible already on it, but small weirdly shaped pieces.  As a result my blocks are about 11" (finished).  That really is too small, but I'm persevering!  Here are the blocks-  they'll be on a darker background and right now they don't line up right.  Hopefully this is because they each have a bunch of seam allowance (which will be turned under), but I think lining them up will be tricky.  I think they'll be more dramatic once I've quilted them, and the dragons definitely need eyes, probably a bead, but I'm liking them so far.

And now for the giveaway.  A long while back, a call for submissions came out for quilts to be included in a book called 1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Modern, and Art Quilts  My mom and I were both lucky to have quilts accepted into it, and after many months, hard copies finally arrived.  It's full of wonderful quilts,  definitely super inspiring eye candy.  A couple of things I really like, one is that (as the name suggests) it contains really a wide variety of different types of quilts.  The second is that it contains lots and lots of detail shots, so you can see up close what people have done or stitched.   I'm giving away a copy, just leave a comment below and I'll use to draw a name on the afternoon of Friday May 1st.  Any kind of comment is fine, if you feel like it, tell me whether you're a pet person and if so, what kind of pets you have.

And of course, always linking up to Nina-Marie.